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Photographer Documents Wife’s Battle With Cancer

By Hanssie on October 23rd 2013

In about a week, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month will end. The pink ribbons will be put away. The 5k fundraisers will focus their attentions on another worthy cause. Day to day life will ensue and move on. Until next year.

[REWIND: The SCAR Project: Heartwrenching Photographs of Breast Cancer Survivors (NSFW)]

But for some (too many these days, unfortunately), like photographer, Angelo Merendino, the battle with cancer will create an indelible imprint that will never be erased. When Angelo met his wife, Jennifer in 2007, he knew that she was ‘the one.’ It was love at first sight. Four months after they were married, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The side effects of 4 years of treatment and the daily struggle was difficult for their friends and family to understand and so Angelo picked up his camera in an effort to tell their story.

My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love.  These photographs do not define us, but they are us.


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As I looked through this series, part of me really wanted to see the last images be those of a happy, newly healthy, Jennifer Merendino. As the reality of it set in, I could feel the raw pain of the empty bed and the cold tombstone.

Angelo has complied all his images into an ebook called, “The Battle We Didn’t Choose.” A portion of the proceeds will go to the non-profit organization, The Love You Share, that Angelo started in her honor, to provide financial assistance to women who are receiving treatment for breast cancer.

The Love You Share  has applied to the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Donations to The Love You Share are not currently tax-deductible while its application is pending. If The Love You Share  receives tax-exempt status, donations received while its application was pending may be treated as tax-deductible contributions retroactive to the date of its formation.”

CREDITS : Photographs by Angelo Merendino have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[Images via @Imgur]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Manna Kanuga

    Hey, lovely article and a tear jerking story… What an amazing idea to document every bit of their lives so that her memory lasts forever… She will be deeply missed but this story will live on… Every photographer should see this, it is a real inspiration <3

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  2. kmfullerton

    I’m glad I got to know them…if but for a moment.

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  3. Rahul D

    Can’t stop tears from my eyes.
    RIP Dear Jennifer. Dear Angelo God bless you with all the strength.

    Sincere regards,

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  4. Tony Cleeton

    The candid frame has an excellent and very moving interview with him in which he describes the process and the hardships of making these images. It’s episode 182 I believe and well worth a listen!

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  5. Yuval Feder

    So sad…I have no words to express my feelings.

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  6. Pat Hagemeister

    I have never been moved by 15 single images as I have with this series. Exquisite job, Angelo, each image tells a story in itself. But I too was thinking we’ll see a happy healthy woman in the last picture. I have daughters near Jennifer’s age and I can’t imagine the pain of such an ordeal. Thank you for sharing!

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    • Hanssie

      I completely understand. Angelo has an entire book full of these images and it was difficult to pick only a few to share. Even in these 5 images, the pain of it comes through.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  7. Bob Harris

    While seeing each picture, my thought this was going to be a story of success. As I progressed through the pictures, I remembered my sister in law and her battle with breast cancer. As the pictures became sadder, again, I thought about the sister in law I lost. The last pictures were hurtful and painful. All the sadness and pain returned in a rush. Angelo – I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know how you found the ability to take these pictures with a heart torn wide open. You are a better man than I.

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    • Hanssie

      Me too. The Disney part of me figured that the last images would end happily. But cancer is real and not a Disney movie sadly :(

      Thanks for sharing, Bob. And I’m sorry for your loss.

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